The Tesoro Cultural Center

Cause Area

  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Education & Literacy


19192 Hwy 8Morrison, CO 80465 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

The Tesoro Cultural Center (Tesoro means "treasure" in Spanish) is committed to protecting and making available to the community the artistic treasures of our American past. All Tesoro events are inspired by Colorado's rich history and shared experiences with Southwest, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, African American, and Early European cultures. From art and cuisine to historical reenactments and music, the Tesoro Cultural Center's mission is to create community-based events and educational programs designed to enrich and celebrate our cultural heritage.


In 1962, Dr. Sam'l P. Arnold built an adobe replica of Bent's Old Fort (1833-1849) in the foothills southwest of Denver, Colorado. Originally this fort was to be his private home. As construction costs mounted, he decided to turn the fort replica into a dining establishment serving foods of the Bent's Fort period. In 1963, to educate the public about the fur trade period and its importance in Colorado history, Arnold created a museum in The Fort with educational displays and dioramas designed by exhibitors from the Denver Museum of Natural History.

Since then, The Tesoro Cultural Center has used Old Bent's Fort as a model to organize historic and cultural events and reenactments of the 19th Century. Bent's Old Fort was an international trading center and Tesoro events celebrate this international mix of rich culture from the past.

Examples of Tesoro's events include: The Indian Market & Powwow (held annually in May), The Spanish Market & 1830's Rendezvous (held annually in September), a Lecture & Dinner series featuring scholars and historians speaking on historical topics and a full dinner of period food, The Night the Stars Fell (commemorating the night of November 13th, 1833 when thousands of meteors showered the sky over North America), and Historic School Tours for students currently studying the Bent's Fort era.


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